A reporter who covered President Donald Trump’s controversial and ultimately under-attended indoor campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last Saturday said he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Paul Monies, a staff reporter for the nonprofit Oklahoma Watch news organization, told the Associated Press news agency Friday that he “can’t say definitively” that he contracted the virus at the BOK Center event.
“But it’s someone I’ve been in contact with in the last two weeks,” he told AP.
“I’m pretty surprised,” Monies tweeted, noting he was asymptomatic, felt “fine” and had even run 5 miles that morning. He’d “spent the last few hours calling people I know I’ve been in contact with in the last 14 days,” he added.
Monies said he wore a mask and mostly adhered to social distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus throughout his 6 hours inside the 19,000-capacity arena, per AP.
In a second tweet, Monies said he was “still trying to process the news.”
“Fingers crossed I stay symptom-free,” Monies wrote. “See y’all (in real life, with a mask) in a couple of weeks.”
Monies took what he described in another tweet as the “post #TulsaTrumpRally #COVID19 test” on Thursday.
Oklahoma public health officials had urged everyone attending the rally, which the Trump campaign was repeatedly asked to postpone over fears it could become a super-spreader event, to get tested afterward. Some health experts feared up to 1,000 people could become infected during the rally.
Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts used a wartime analogy to describe how he was preparing to cover the event.
Six Trump campaign staffers who’d worked on the rally tested positive for the coronavirus, it emerged on the day of the event, as did two members of the Secret Service. It forced dozens of other agents to self-quarantine amid fears they’d also been exposed to the contagion.
The Trump campaign had advised people seeking tickets to the rally, via a waiver on its website, that they could not launch legal action if they contracted the virus there, a widely condemned move that legal experts suggested would not actually prevent lawsuits.
Masks were optional for people attending the rally, despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines advising people to wear them in public.
Trump spoke at another indoor rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday.
Oklahoma this week, along with multiple other states, saw a rapid uptick in the number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19.
Statewide, it has killed at least 377 people and infected some 12,000 more.
Nationwide, it has claimed more than 125,000 lives.
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